I attend receptions, dinners, seminars and all manner of business events to schmooze, catch up with business connections, meet new people and be seen... We all do it as part of driving a successful practice and/or firm. At any event I might meet and talk with a dozen or so people -- then there is the ever important follow-up work I need to perform to complete a connection and keep a relationship alive.
At least, that's what I used to do.
Now technology has delivered a much bigger room and it turns out the room is much easier to work. Welcome to the 24/7 Social Net Networking event.
On a typical morning train ride (one hour) I will log into Facebook (via Blackberry) and spend 10 minutes reading updates from "friends", post a couple of comments and then post my own update(s). Total time: 15 minutes. People I networked with: 140
Next I log onto LinkedIn and repeat reading and posting. I spend a bit less time on LinkedIn so -- Total time: 10 minutes. People I networked with: >300
Finally I switch over to Twitter and do the whole reading and posting thing again. I spend a bit more time on Twitter because there is a lot of article linking in posts (i.e. more reading). Total time: 20 minutes. People I networked with: >100
That's more than 500 people touched in less than an hour. And I am doing it almost every day! The best part is every person volunteered to be in my network and they like being connected as much as I do.
Is it effective you ask? Let me answer your question with a quick story.
Last night I was at a schmooze event (yes, I still get out there and mix it up plenty) and ran into a private equity principal I have not seen in many, many months. When he saw me his face lit up and exclaimed "BRUCE!!" as he walked over to shake my hand. Beyond the fact that he is an incredibly nice man he greeted me like a close friend. He said, "It's great to see you. I get your updates all the time (I am connected with him via LinkedIn) and man are you busy. I've been wanting to catch up."
The social net is an amazing room to work! I would encourage everyone to be there. Come on, stick your toe in, the water's great!!